Memorandum by the Director of the Office of South American Affairs (Atwood) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Miller)1



  • Arms Shipments to the Colombian Government.

In view of your concurrence in Ambassador Waynick’s recommendation regarding the prompt shipment to Colombia of the arms requested by Colombian Minister of War Bernal (see attached Embdes No. 225 of September 112), we plan to take the following action on this and three other pending Colombian requests for military and naval equipment each of which is in a different stage of consideration in State and Defense.

Inform Defense that our informal agreement of June 25, 19523 with Generals Bolte, Walsh and Stewart can now be relaxed, and the anti-personnel material requested by General Bernal can be released in limited amounts to the extent that it is available.
Authorize MD to release the export license for the shipment of a long-delayed consignment of light and heavy machine guns (50 each); pistols and sub-machine guns (76 each); and nominal amounts of ammunition and grenades. This order, placed by Ambassador Zuleta Angel on August 23, 1950, is valued at $136,235.
Approve to Defense from a political and economic viewpoint the Colombian request made August 14, 1952 for an additional frigate, subject to current availability, and Defense’s finding that this type of vessel is needed by Colombia in connection with hemisphere defense.
Inform Defense that we cannot approve the Colombian request of August 4, 1952 for demolition, fragmentation and napalm bombs, which the Colombians state “are needed by the Colombian Air Force in connection with the Joint Western Hemisphere Defense Effort,” unless Defense can adduce some overriding military reason why these are needed by Colombia at this time.

If you agree with the foregoing, and will so indicate,4 we shall proceed along these lines.

  1. Addressed also to Deputy Assistant Secretary Mann; drafted by Mr. Gerberich and Mr. Mackay.
  2. Not printed (721.00/9–1152).
  3. For the substance of the agreement, see the memorandum of conversation, June 25, 1952, p. 779.
  4. There is no indication on the source text of Assistant Secretary Miller’s approval.